- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
May 2014 is Scams Awareness Month. Labour Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, Joyce Watson explains why she is backing the campaign.
“A chap I know uses the following line when he answers the phone to a cold-caller trying to get his custom. ‘What sporting or cultural events in Wales does your company support or sponsor?’
“Apparently, this usually is followed by silence or the caller goes to find the help of a supervisor. The point is it puts him in control of the conversation. Your telephone is for your convenience. You should not be put to a disadvantage by it.
“Age Cymru, Trading Standards and Citizens Advice in Wales are working together to make May ‘Scams Awareness Month’. I am backing the campaign because it is an issue that constituents often complain to me about. Recently I received an email from someone who paid his car tax through a firm that charges £35 for making the application. In fact, the DVLA makes no charge beyond the cost of the tax disc itself. I have been told of similar “service charges” being applied to the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), the old E111. A quick internet search reveals how many dubious private companies obtain personal details and money this way.
“By now, having a home computer is nearly as common as having a television. We are encouraged to shop online and to book and to pay online. However, if you choose to do business online you ought not to be put at risk of being cheated. Likewise, no one has a right to talk to someone without permission, whether that is on the doorstep or on the telephone.
“Age Cymru’s research shows that more than 2,500 scams were reported to Trading Standards in Wales between February 2012 and February 2013. However, they believe that this figure could be the tip of the iceberg. The Office of Fair Trading believes that only 5% of scams are ever reported.
“That is why the Welsh Government is helping local councils introduce more “No Cold Call Zones” throughout Wales. Your community should be a hostile places for a scam artist to operate. Meanwhile, as individuals, we must be vigilant. That is why I will be supporting and promoting Scams Awareness this month, to highlight the dangers of postal, telephone, internet and doorstep scams.”